Essay on The March on Washington - August 28, 1963

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The March on Washington - August 28, 1963

One hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation was written, African Americans were still fighting for equal rights in every day life. The first real success of this movement did not come until the Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954 which was followed by many boycotts and protests. The largest of these protests, the March on Washington, was held on August 28, 1963 “for jobs and freedom” (March on Washington 11). An incredible amount of preparation went into the event to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people attending from around the nation and to deal with any potential incidents.

According to the march organizers, the march would symbolize their demands of “the
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Mayors nearby Washington D.C. even gave city workers the day off so they could attend. For those too far away, there were symbolic marches on city halls across America and American Embassies around the world. James Baldwin who was in France at the time, took part in one of these.

The marchers gathered at the Washington Monument before dawn as planned on August 28, 1963. At 11:30, 100,000 to 200,000 of them began marching towards the Lincoln Memorial singing “We Shall Overcome” (“The March on Washington” 12). At the memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered multiple speeches along with other African Americans about segregation and discrimination issues. During one of his speeches, King Jr. declared that “we will not hate you, but we cannot obey your unjust laws. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…But we will soon wear you down by our capacity to suffer. And in winning our freedom, we will so appeal to your heart and conscience, that we will win you in the process” (“Negro Protest Movement” 507). This statement by King Jr. describes his plans of further nonviolent protesting against “unjust laws” to convince others of the civil rights movement’s cause. He furthers this statement and elaborates his ideas in his infamous speech, “I Have a Dream.”

Despite initial skepticism by the White House, thinking that the march was capable of much
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